Gallery highlights artists from multiple generations


Photo by Sean Renwick

Student honors past generations of artwork by coming together for a local exhibit on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at 103 W. Washington Street, West Chicago.

By Catherine Miller, Contributing Writer

Detailed drawings, intricate 3-D art, an abstract piece, and an impressionistic landscape will cover the walls of West Chicago’s Gallery 200 beginning Friday.

The most impressive part, however, is that these different works of art will all come from one family: the Renwicks.  

“Every month there’s a different featured artist. The whole gallery is filled with art on the walls from the gallery artists and then the middle is always for the featured artist of the month,” LRC staff member Britta Renwick said.

Their featured exhibit, “Generations of Art”, will showcase talent from five family members. It will include pieces from junior Sean Renwick, freshman Alec Renwick, and Britta Renwick. Additionally, the Renwicks stayed in Switzerland for several weeks over the summer and brought back pieces created by the family that lives there.

“We brought (my grandfather’s) piece and one of my aunt’s pieces back from Switzerland this year on the plane. That was sketchy,” Sean Renwick laughed.

This gallery will be the first time that art from their relatives will be on display in the United States.

Sean and Alec Renwick’s grandfather grew up in northern Germany, so his art was greatly influenced by the scenery around him.

“My grandpa lived in Germany. There are a lot of harbors, cold, flat, lots of ships and sea,” Sean Renwick said. “So the majority of his paintings are impressionistic.”

Sean Renwick’s aunt has a very different style from her family members.

“My aunt, she’s abstract. She does nothing real. She splatters paint and stuff and it looks so cool,” Sean Renwick said.

Britta Renwick has experience in a variety of art fields.

“My whole life I’ve loved any kind of art. I’m a crafter, painter, sculptor, photographer. A little bit of everything,” Britta Renwick said.

For a while, she was focused on photography and jewelry, but she is doing something different for the gallery. She has mixed her photography with paper mache to create 3-D pieces.

Alec Renwick’s pieces, although less in number, will be more complex.

“Alec has the least but his pieces are very intricate. One of his pieces has over 1,000 pieces of paper folded up and stuck together,” Britta Renwick said.

Sean Renwick will have 18 pieces in the gallery which is the most out of any members of his family. His specialty is drawing, and he prefers drawing people.

“(People) have more expression and you can make them look alive,” Sean Renwick said. “With people, there’s something there.”

Art has been a significant part of the Renwick house since the beginning. Britta Renwick grew up in an environment where ingenuity and resourcefulness were valued.
“(In my house it was) whatever you like, try to make it first before you go out and buy it,” Britta Renwick said. “I think that’s very important to nurture that creativity.”

Britta Renwick also has taught art in Switzerland to 5th and 6th graders. She has done her best to pass this creativity on to her children.

“My mom was an artist so she would literally sit us down at the kitchen table and put out a gigantic sheet of paper and put paint in front of us and say ‘Do whatever you want.’ And then we’d splatter,  handprints, and everything,” Sean Renwick said.

Another commonality between the family members is that they use art as an outlet when they are feeling stressed.

“Art is always nice. Sean, Alec, and I all use art when we are stressed. We use it as an outlet,” Britta Renwick said.

Art has been a big element in the family members’ lives for a long time, but this is the first time that all of them have created a gallery exhibit together. The entire process took the family two years.

“The first year pretty much all happened in the head, we didn’t actually do anything for it. And then a whole year of actually working towards it,” Britta Renwick said.

Even though it was a long process, the Renwicks are already thinking about doing it again.

“I definitely want to do it again. It’s so fun,” Sean Renwick said.

The gallery allows Sean Renwick and his family members to work towards something when they are creating their artwork and to have a goal.

“We haven’t even had the show yet and I’m already thinking about the next one,” Britta Renwick said.

The opening reception for their gallery will be Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at 103 W. Washington Street, West Chicago. The exhibit runs through November.